The Assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand : Trigger for War

analytical Essay
2645 words
2645 words

The Assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand : Trigger for War

Bosnia and Herzegovina were provinces just south of Austria, which had, until 1878, been governed by the Turks. The Treaty of Berlin, in 1878, settled the disposition of lands lost by the Turks following their disastrous war with Russia. Austria was granted the power to administer the two provinces indefinitely. Many Bosnian-Serbs felt a strong nationalistic desire to have their province joined with that of their Serb brothers across the river in Serbia. Many in Serbia openly shared that desire.

On October 6, 1908, Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina directly into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The reasons were complex. Annexation would remove any hopes Turkey might have for reclaiming the provinces. Full inclusion into the empire would give Bosnians full rights and privileges. It may have been an act of will by the Austrians, just to show that they were still an active, sovereign power.

Two days later, many men, some of them ranking Serbian ministers, officials, and generals, held a meeting at City Hall in Belgrade. They founded a semi-secret society, Narodna Odbrana (National Defense), which gave Pan-Slavism a focus and an organization. The purpose of the group was to recruit and train partisans for a possible war between Serbia and Austria. They also undertook anti-Austrian propaganda and organized spies and saboteurs to operate within the empire's provinces. Satellite groups were formed in Slovinia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Istria. The Bosnian group went under the name Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia).

Narodna Odbrana's work had been so effective that in 1909 a furious Austria pressured the Serbian government to put a stop to their anti-Austrian insurrection. Russia was not ready to stand fully behind Serbia should things come to a showdown, so Belgrade was grudgingly forced to comply. From then on, Narodna Odbrana concentrated on education and propaganda within Serbia, trying to fashion itself as a cultural organization.

Many members formed a new, and again secret, organization to continue the terrorist actions. Ten men met on May 9, 1911 to form Ujedinjenje ili Smrt (Union or Death), also known as The Black Hand.

By 1914, there were several hundred members, perhaps as many as 2500. Many members were Serbian army officers. The professed goal of the group was the creation of a Greater Serbia, by use of violence, if necessary. The Black Hand trained guerillas and saboteurs and arranged political murders.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that bosnia and herzegovina were provinces just south of austria, which had, until 1878, been governed by the turks.
  • Explains that austria annexed bosnia and herzegovina directly into the austro-hungarian empire on october 6, 1908. it was an act of will to show that they were still an active, sovereign power.
  • Describes how serbian ministers, officials, and generals formed a semi-secret society to recruit and train partisans for war between serbia and austria.
  • Narrates how narodna's work was so effective that in 1909, austria pressured the serbian government to put a stop to their anti-austrian insurrection.
  • Explains that the black hand was organized at the grassroots level in 3 to 5-member cells, above them were district committees and the central committee in belgrade.
  • Explains that the black hand took over the terrorist actions of narodna odbran, and worked deliberately at obscuring any distinctions between the two groups.
  • Explains that the black hand was displeased with prime minister nikola pasic. they engaged in a bitter power struggle over several issues, such as who would control territories
  • Describes how three bosnian-serbs were recruited and trained in bomb throwing and marksmanship. princip, cabrinovic' and grabez were smuggled across the border back into bosnia via underground-railroad style contacts.
  • Explains that the decision to kill the archduke was apparently initiated by apis, and not sanctioned by the full executive committee.
  • Explains that apis was told not to proceed when word of the plot percolated through black hand leadership and the serbian government. he tried to intercept the young assassins at the border, but they had already crossed.
  • Analyzes how the'recall' made apis look like a loose cannon, and the young assassins as independent zealots. nothing more was done to stop them.
  • Explains that the black hand's activities were well known to the serbian government. prime minister pasic had a difficult problem on his hands.
  • Narrates how pasic tried to intercept the assassins at the border, but when that failed, he decided to warn them in vague diplomatic ways that would not expose the black hand.
  • Explains that the serbian minister to vienna, jovanjovovic, was not well received in austrian foreign ministry offices. he got along better with the minister of finance, dr.
  • Analyzes how jovanovic told bilinski that it might be good and reasonable if franz ferdinand were not to go to sarajevo.
  • Narrates how danilo ilic recruited three black hand trainees, vaso cubrilovic and cvijetko popovic, and muhamed mehmedbasic, a bosnian muslim.
  • Explains franz ferdinand accepted the invitation of bosnia's governor, general oskar potoirek, to inspect the army maneuvers being held outside sarajevo.
  • Explains that sophie, not being of royal blood, was not permitted to ride in the same car as her husband back in vienna, but such taboos did not apply to provincial cities like sarajevo.
  • Opines that franz ferdinand was a brave man who disliked the presence of secret service men and cordon soldiers. sarajevo was not seen as hostile territory.
  • Describes how the archducal party left philipovic army camp and headed to city hall for a reception hosted by sarajevo's mayor. the wide avenue called appel quay followed the north bank of the miljacka.
  • Describes the vehicles in the procession that carried the mayor, fehim effendi curcic, the city's commissioner of police, dr. gerde, franz ferdinand, sophie, and general potoirek.
  • Describes how the morning was sunny and warm. crowds lined the appel quay to cheer the imperial couple. amid the festive crowd mingled seven young assassins.
  • Analyzes how franz ferdinand's car passed mehmedbasic, but cabrinovic had more resolve. he took the bomb from his coat pocket, struck the percussion cap against a lamppost, took aim and threw it directly at franz
  • Narrates how the car's owner, count harrach, thought they had suffered a flat tire, and the driver, who must have seen the black object flying, did the opposite.
  • Describes how the bomb glanced off franz ferdinand's arm and bounced into the street behind them. the third car was hit with fragments and stalled. merizzi received a bad cut to the back of the head.
  • Describes how cabrinovic swallowed his cyanide and jumped into the river. he was quickly seized by the crowd and arrested.
  • Narrates how a furious franz ferdinand confronted the mayor at city hall. the mayor, unaware of what had happened, or ill-equipped for crises, launched into his prepared speech.
  • Analyzes how franz ferdinand regained his composure and thanked his host for his cordial welcome. activities at city hall were observed as planned.
  • Explains that the same motorcade set out along the appel quay, but neither merizzi's driver, nor franz ferdinand' driver had been informed of the change in schedule.
  • Analyzes how franz ferdinand's car turned off the appel quay and onto franz joseph street, as originally planned, to travel to the museum. general potoirek leaned forward.
  • Analyzes how princip was quick to recognize what had happened. he pulled the pistol from his pocket, took a step towards the car, and fired twice. potoirek thought the shots had missed, but given the assault,
  • Describes how princip turned the gun on himself, but was mobbed by the crowd. he swallowed his poison from the same batch as cabrinovic's.
  • Describes how franz ferdinand shot sophie in the neck as he crossed the lateiner bridge. potoirek and harrach thought sophie had fainted and were trying to help her up.
  • Opines that the double murders of franz ferdinand and sophie brought austro-serbian tensions to a head.
  • Analyzes how vienna took a hard line against serbia, and the wheels of war gained speed. the crisis of july turned into world war, thirty days after franz ferdinand and his wife sophie were shot.
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